Fluoro-jade identification of cerebellar granule cell and purkinje cell death in the alpha1A calcium ion channel mutant mouse, leaner. Academic Article uri icon


  • Cell death is a critical component of normal nervous system development; too little or too much results in abnormal development and function of the nervous system. The leaner mouse exhibits excessive, abnormal cerebellar granule cell and Purkinje cell death during postnatal development, which is a consequence of a mutated calcium ion channel subunit, alpha(1A). Previous studies have shown that leaner cerebellar Purkinje cells die in a specific pattern that appears to be influenced by functional and anatomical boundaries of the cerebellum. However, the mechanism of Purkinje cell death and the specific timing of the spatial pattern of cell death remain unclear. By double labeling both leaner and wild-type cerebella with Fluoro-Jade and terminal deoxynucleotide transferase-mediated, deoxyuridine triphosphate nick-end labeling or Fluoro-Jade and tyrosine hydroxylase immunohistochemistry we demonstrated that the relatively new stain, Fluoro-Jade, will label neurons that are dying secondary to a genetic mutation. Then, by staining leaner and wild-type cerebella between postnatal days 20 and 80 with Fluoro-Jade, we were able to show that Purkinje cell death begins at approximately postnatal day 25, peaks in the vermis about postnatal day 40 and in the hemispheres at postnatal day 50 and persists at a low level at postnatal day 80. In addition, we showed that there is a significant difference in the amount of cerebellar Purkinje cell death between rostral and caudal divisions of the leaner cerebellum, and that there is little to no Purkinje cell death in the wild type cerebellum at the ages we examined. This is the first report of the use of Fluoro-Jade to identify dying neurons in a genetic model for neuronal cell death. By using Fluoro-Jade, we have specifically defined the temporospatial pattern of postnatal Purkinje cell death in the leaner mouse. This information can be used to gain insight into the dynamic mechanisms controlling Purkinje cell death in the leaner cerebellum.

published proceedings

  • Neuroscience

author list (cited authors)

  • Frank, T. C., Nunley, M. C., Sons, H. D., Ramon, R., & Abbott, L. C.

citation count

  • 22

complete list of authors

  • Frank, TC||Nunley, MC||Sons, HD||Ramon, R||Abbott, LC

publication date

  • January 2003